Aquascapers use various techniques for decorating their aquariums. Although some hobbyists prefer to use plastic plants, sunken plastic ships, divers and treasure chests, we like to keep it natural!
Rock and wood are found in nature and therefore, tend to recreate a more natural aquarium. Recreating what is found in nature will allow fish to feel more relaxed and stress-free.
Apart from aesthetics, there are a few hidden benefits of using natural decorations:
- Wood helps to lower pH and often adds tannic acids, mimicking a more natural environment
- Decorative natural items increase surface area for nitrifying bacteria to colonize
The key to establishing a “natural” appearance in your tank is to decorate carefully. Choose a variety of shapes and sizes but not too many different types of rocks or wood. Don’t just select a bunch of pieces that are all the same size.
Let us explore some of the most preferred types of rocks.
Elephant Skin Stone
Elephant Skin Stone is natural grey or tan rock that is ideal for creating an aquascaped tropical or marine aquarium. Use Elephant Skin Stone as a background or place individual rocks within your existing aquarium hardscape for added depth. Elephant Skin Stone is also perfect for creating caves and shelter for your fish.
Petrified Wood has a unique color and texture. You can pile pieces on each other, building a tiered effect or mountain-scapes. Under water, it takes on a beautiful reddish-yellowish color which creates a great harmony with any driftwood or sand.
When placed in groups, Lava Rock creates a more natural effect. Plants really compliment Black Lava Rock because of the contrast between green and black. Lava Rock is a finely detailed stone with many crevices and holes. These crevices are perfect for planting mosses and small plants.
Driftwood can add stunning character to almost any aquarium. This hardwood stands up well to being permanently submersed. It also provides a good food source to some fish, provides great hiding spaces for livestock and is a great contrast for plants.
Dragonwood makes a great addition to almost any freshwater aquarium or terrarium. The delicate flexible branches and red-brown color create a natural looking environment. It is a great centerpiece for almost any aquascape!
Black Spiderwood makes a great addition to any freshwater aquarium. The delicate branches and gray-black color create a natural environment, making fish feel less stressed and more at home. It is a great centerpiece for any aquascape!
Pine Spiderwood is named for the beautiful branching pieces that can be used to create a scape which mimics pine trees in the forest. The more delicate and finer branches make it different from traditional Spiderwood. Pine Spiderwood makes a great addition to almost any freshwater aquarium.
Some things to consider before adding any rocks or wood to your aquarium:
- Are all your rock or wood choices clean and free from debris? Have they been sterilized or heat-treated?
- Will they buffer or affect your pH and/or KH? This is not always a bad thing, but you need to know the natural environment of the fish that you are keeping.
- Do a little research and consider the natural environment of the fish that you are trying to keep before selecting a rock or wood.
If you are having trouble selecting the appropriate rock or wood for your next aquarium, we are always here to help! We love helping our customers hand select hardscape materials!